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Contemporary Art of the Arab World

Research resources for VISST-2000-8: Contemporary Art of the Arab World.

Writing with Sources

This video demonstrates how to use sources to construct a curatorial statement for a virtual exhibition. The writing sample, endnotes, and bibliography demonstrated in the video are available below.

For your upcoming exhibition assignment, review the following sample paragraph as an example of using sources appropriately when writing your curatorial statement.


Tapestries: Unconventional Textile Use in Contemporary Middle Eastern Art

     The series Marionettes by Hayv Kahraman fuses motifs from Italian, Persian, and Japanese artistic traditions to represent the confinement of domesticity.1 Born in Baghdad in 1981, Kahraman’s family moved to Sweden in 1992 in the wake of the First Gulf War. After studying graphic design in Florence, Kahraman immigrated to the United States in 2006. Her multinational upbringing drives her work. “I mix all these cultures together probably because I’m searching for a lost identity,” Kahraman explained.2 Discussing her influences with Elephant, Kahraman explained that her “way of working developed organically from the various cultural traditions that [she has] lived in.”3 The figures in her paintings, restrained by golden marionette strings, reflect her experience of Western popular culture: “In the media, on television, you are just bombarded with the subservient-housewife aspiration.”4
     Kahraman’s choice to paint on linen, an ancient textile associated with domesticity, reinforces the themes in her work. Using techniques she learned from artisans in Florence, Kahraman stretches raw linen, imported from Belgium, and treats it with a rabbit skin glue to create a taut surface amenable to oil paint.”5 


The superscript numbers (no. 1-5, above) correspond to footnotes or endnotes. When using notes, you include the complete information the first time you cite a source, and "shortened notes" each subsequent time. Notes 2 and 4 below are shortened notes referring to the same source in note 1.



1. Carly Berwick, “Critic’s Pick: Hayv Kahraman,” ARTnews 108, no. 9 (Oct. 2009): 152.

2. Berwick, “Critic’s Pick,” 152.

3. Margherita Dessanay, “Going East: Newer Horizons of Tradition,” Elephant, Summer 2013, 50-71.

4. Berwick, “Critic’s Pick,” 152.

5. Eric Bryant, “Defying Definition: Hayv Kahraman’s New Work Pushes Beyond Gender Roles and Geopolitics into Fresh Territory,” Blouin Art + Auction 37, no. 7 (March 2014): 72-78.


In addition to notes, the Chicago Manual of Style requires a separate bibliography, which is a complete list of sources you consulted writing your curatorial statement, even if those sources weren't cited in your curatorial statement. In this example, the author consulted the artist's website, included an image of the painting Hegemony, and a book by Judith Brodsky and Ferris Olin. While those sources weren't cited, they should still be included in the bibliography.

The bibliography is listed in alphabetical order by author, and bibliographic entries are formatted slightly differently from notes. For more on citation formatting, please visit our guide to Citing Sources.



Berwick, Carly. “Critic’s Pick: Hayv Kahraman.” ARTnews 108, no. 9 (Oct. 2009): 152.

Brodsky, Judith K. and Ferris Olin. The Fertile Crescent: Gender, Art, and Society. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Institute for Women and Art, 2012.

Bryant, Eric. “Defying Definition: Hayv Kahraman’s New Work Pushes Beyond Gender Roles and Geopolitics into Fresh Territory.” Blouin Art + Auction 37, no. 7 (March 2014): 72-78.

Dessanay, Margherita. “Going East: Newer Horizons of Tradition.” Elephant, Summer 2013, 50-71.

Kahrman, Hayv. Hegemony, 2009. Oil on linen, 86” x 52”.


“Kahraman, Hayv.” In Benezit Dictionary of Artists. Oxford University Press, 2018; online ed.,

Kahraman, Hayv. “Marionettes.” Accessed on 5 April 2018.